Mobisol attracts fresh investment


German off-grid solar company, which focuses its business in East Africa, Mobisol has already proven itself to be one of the fastest growing and most innovative companies in the sector. Today, news of increased investment in the company should come as no surprise, as all signs point towards a thriving off-grid solar market in Africa.

The investment was made through Investec Asset Management’s African private equity capability. Neither company has revealed the exact stake that Investec acquired, but Mobisol stated it was “a significant shareholding.” In addition to the new investment from Investec, existing shareholder DEG has also increased its shareholding in the company.

It is a positive development for Mobisol, who is just beginning to enter the Kenyan market, after already being firmly established in Tanzania and Rwanda. This new investment should help the company accelerate its business and expand into new markets, which is something that Mobisol Corporate Development Manager Klaus Maier told pv magazine that the company planned to do, while giving a tour of its headquarters in Berlin in June.

“Our partnership with Investec Asset Management marks an important milestone in the growth history of Mobisol,” commented Mobisol Founder and CEO Thomas Gottschalk. “The investment and partnership with Investec will allow Mobisol to concentrate on scaling and better serving our customer while constantly innovating and reinforcing our unique competitive edge.”

Thriving on innovation

Mobisol’s growth trajectory has been as impressive as any of the off-grid solar companies in Africa, partly due to its innovative approach to problem solving. Not only does Mobisol offer all-in-one systems that include lighting, TVs, mobile phone chargers, and other applicants, it incorporates a manageable financing system, which is affordable for low-income families in Africa. It even has a fleet of drones on hand to deliver spare parts when its systems brake.

The company reached an impressive milestone in June, as it installed its 50,000th system, meaning that it had reached a quarter million people in the region. This is a number that is likely to be dramatically increased.

“We are delighted to partner with Mobisol’s founder-management,” said Investment Principal in Private Equity at Investec Asset Management Mark Jennings. “Mobisol has established itself as a leading provider of off-grid solar home systems in Africa and we are looking forward to supporting the dynamic team at Mobisol in driving the next phase of the company’s growth and development.”

The off-grid solar market is booming in Africa as of late, and especially in East Africa. In fact, just last week a particularly encouraging report from the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) highlighted huge levels of investment in the sector. So much so that USD 139.8 million was invested in off-grid in East Africa in 2015, making up approximately 50% of the USD 276 million that was invested in off-grid solar globally over the course of the whole year.